There has been a lot written about the risk of catching Legionnaires’ disease in a post Covid world.
For example a recent newspaper article stated “Public health officials around the country have warned that water systems which had been out of use could provide a breeding ground for the germ, which can cause outbreaks of legionnaire’s disease.“
It also quoted the Health & Safety Executive “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said last month that risk assessments were needed when starting to use water systems again and also when restarting certain types of air conditioning units.”
This has been borne out in Italy where in a scientific paper it was stated:
“A man aged in his 40s with no comorbidities was admitted to the emergency department (ED) on 3 June 2020 for fever (≥38.0°C), dry cough and headache since 28May. The patient is employed in Rome as a dishwasher in a restaurant that had been closed until 25May. He worked in the restaurant from 25 to 29May Symptoms appeared 3days after returning to work.”Legionella pneumonia: increased risk after COVID-19 lockdown? Italy, May to June 2020
Claudia Palazzolo¹, Gaetano Maffongelli¹, Alessandra D’Abramo¹, Luciana Lepore¹, Andrea Mariano¹, Antonella Vulcano¹, Tommaso Ascoli Bartoli¹, Nazario Bevilacqua¹, Maria Letizia Giancola¹, Enrico Di Rosa², Emanuele Nicastri¹ National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ IRCCS, Rome, Italy Local Health Office, ASL Roma 1, Rome, Italy
The report went on to say:
“Due to the lockdown, the restaurant, where the case worked, had been previously closed. Potential health risks exist in buildings that have been shut down or operating with reduced occupancy during the COVID–19 pandemic. Indeed, this may allow Legionella growth in water pipes and equipment using, or dispersing, water, such as evaporative air-conditioning systems or spa pools/tubs, if they are not managed adequately. In this scenario, the implementation of a suitable flushing regime, or other measures, such as draining the system – especially if weekly flushing cannot be maintained, are needed in order to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.”
It is clear that there is a significant risk from water systems that have been stagnant during any lockdown periods. The importance of a risk assessment prior to reopening and if necessary suitable remedial tasks should be carried out befor reopening.
If you need help or advice in managing your premises post Covid then contact Collaton Consultancy Limited via email.